Spheric Music SMCD 2022
released 1982 / 2010
If Harmonic Ascendant put Robert Schroeder's name on the map, Galaxy Cygnus-A concretized the immense talent and creativity of the Aachen synthesist. Initially conceived for a science fiction project, Galaxy Cygnus-A consisted in getting sound waves coming from galaxies with the help radio telescope placed in high altitude. Robert Schroeder edited and sampled these galactic tones on a music that he performed during a big event in sounds and images, because that a big screen broadcasted images of cosmos during this concert presented within the framework of the prestigious ARS-Electronica in Linz, Austria in 1982. Released on Klaus Schulze label (Innovative Communication), Galaxy Cygnus-A got lost in CD reeditions and was never released on this format. We had to wait until last December when Spheric Label presented a reworked version of this small masterpiece of ingenuity. Straight off, I have to admit that I was a little disconcerted by this new renamed version; Cygnus-A which puts down lot of emphasis on sound effects and the strength of sound, abandoning a bit the warmer approach and the subtleties of the vinyl sound curves. But if the purpose of Schroeder was to let us hear all that we missed due to limitations of the vinyl, I may say mission accomplished. Because in spite of the difference between both productions, Galaxy Cygnus-A remains a pure masterwork where the melodious approach of synths espouse marvellously tones got beyond our terrestrial frontiers. And this new version includes even a bonus track left aside for lack of space at the vinyl time.
An immense resonant thump falls and scatters static sonorous strands. And so, fall knocks of mace whereas the statism and astral choirs float in a sublime cosmic immersion. Sounds which stretch such as slender serpentines to deformed metallic resonances give to Search Direction a strange static immobility stuffed with tones of arcade games. Already the differences between both works are tangible; everything is more detailed and more limpid. Schroeder voice floats among superb synth layers which fluctuate over a mellotron choir. Sounds, sounds and sounds which sway and roam in a cosmos that we could touch on the tips of our fingers. And there appears this small cosmic duck that spreads his "Wah''-"Wah" which are following in series of two. Receiving Signals is by far one of the most beautiful pieces of music produces by Robert Schroeder. Everything is perfect on this track which increases in intensity and drama. Cosmic "Wah''-"Wah" which set a first schema of the minimalism tempo, in addition of galactic sound effects, a synth with fluid spectral and astral layers, a line of bass which supports this delicate rhythm and percussions which fall in a asymmetric way make a wonderful jewel of tranquillity and serenity which gets dressed constantly of new assets and galactic sound effects on a delicate serial rhythm which is gradually growing. But intensity held by all this sonorous radiant which ensues from it. The key point is this synth which is coming apart at around the 5th minute to offer the most beautiful cosmic melody that my ears heard to this day. To me, Receiving Signals (or Teil 2) is one of cosmic EM highlight and as much as on this new edition as on the original the impact is the same; it’s a track simply splendid. Lift off to the Galaxy imbibes us with cosmic tones. Here no rhythm but all sound effects! Tones all so strange than others which could effectively come from galaxies situated at light years from earth and which surround fine notes of a kind of electronic harp with a zest of Chinese fragrance and suave layers of misty mellotron. We perceive there all those subtle fluid moves of a synth which frees celestial choruses. That’s a prelude to the undulating and hopping rhythm which livens up1050 Mill. Light Years where extraterritorial sonorities invade a suave rippling sequence to uncertain tempo and a synth filled by a lunar saxophone tone. It’s a soft rhythm which is breaking through blackness of space and concluded the whole first side of Galaxy Cygnus-A’s album.
Following huge reflecting and resonant sparkles, Galaxy Cygnus-A widens its galactic sonorities whereas a superb sequential minimalist movement settles a tempo to delicate alternating strikes. If Receiving Signals is a jewel, Galaxy Cygnus-A is a pure diamond of cosmic tenderness where the fine hypnotic tempo pulses beneath suave astral choruses, sonorities of misty flutes and cosmic signals which accompany a sulphurous synth with piercing sonority. It’s a very beautiful music piece where the meshing of various synth tones to the hypnotic rhythm brings us near an imagination without borders. Constellation Swan ended the original work with a long ambient track to cosmic fragrances. On this version, cosmic noises, interferences and astral choirs are amplified so that nothing escapes the attentive and fond of sounds ear. The synth is fluid and melodious freeing brief twisted solos among an array of analog tones, among which these singings of whales that are so associated with the extraterrestrial communications. Interstellar Quasars is the bonus track from this new edition of Galaxy Cygnus-A. It’s a long track which is really in the spirit of this conceptual work with its heavy reverberating tones which float in a mellotron fog. We feel synth momentums, as on Lift off to the Galaxy, which are snapped by extraterrestrials conversations on an absent rhythm, an abstract structure. Choirs roam here and there with erratic synth pads and cosmic sounds which yell among stars. A slow ambient structure is floating there before a circular tempo makes a brief appearance. A tempo quick absorbed by meanders of cosmos and which will return later in the form of hopping and crystal clear sequences dancing beneath the breezes of a poetic synth.
Cygnus-A, or Galaxy Cygnus-A, is a pure masterpiece of cosmic EM. Even if the difference between the two editions can disconcerted ears moulded in the furrows of the first edition, we are fast absorbed by all the beauty of this cosmic work. And when we listen to those two works in parallel, we eventually find a justification in this reworked version which displays all the power limited by the recordings of this period. As for me it’s a major work which has its place in any EM record collection, whether it’s Berlin School or cosmic music, so much the magic which comes out of it hasn’t finds an equal yet regarding that kind.
by Sylvain Lupari
gutsofdarkness.com & synth&sequences.com